FIVE people died and 17 were injured yesterday morning at the 70km peg along the Mutare–Harare highway when an Inter-Africa bus veered off the road and hit a tree after the driver allegedly slept on the wheel.
BY KENNETH NYANGANI
The accident happened around 4am at Shamu business centre after Nyazura. The bus reportedly departed Bulawayo on Tuesday evening with 48 passengers on board. Police spokesperson, Chief Superintendant Paul Nyathi confirmed the accident and warned bus operators against overworking their staff.
NewsDay visited the Mutare General Hospital mortuary yesterday where the bodies of the five deceased passengers had been transferred.
Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandiitawepi Chimene and acting provincial administrator, Edgar Seenza visited the hospital, where the injured people, including the bus driver, were admitted.
Chimene said bus drivers should respect passengers’ lives.
“Some drivers think that they are experienced, but you don’t have experience in saving people’s lives. We have (Toyota) Prados, but we are being overtaken by buses. It’s technology, it has its own disadvantages,’’ she said.
Chimene urged passengers to use roadblocks to report cases of speeding drivers.
“We have several roadblocks, they are not meant for checks only, but to facilitate passengers to report such cases,’’ she said.
Seenza weighed in, saying bus operators should ensure drivers rest or have a standby colleague to avoid loss of lives.
“We are told that the incident happened around 4am, according to the report we got from the survivors. The bus left Bulawayo around 8pm last night (Tuesday),’’ he said.
“The bus driver was urged by passengers to take a rest and sleep in Murambinda, but refused leading to this incident. We are saddened at the loss of lives. We are urging bus operators to always have two drivers and drivers should also take a rest, not to force themselves to drive when they are tired.’’